Release Date: Oct 28, 2013
Record label: Forced Exposure
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
That novelistic title makes the nature of Grass House’s debut album immediately clear. This is literate, widescreen rock. Indeed, the DNA of the bands they take their influences from is never far below the surface. There have been comparisons to The National and there’s something of the Wild Beasts about their theatrical storytelling.
The world according to Grass House is an extremely bleak one indeed. Not for them fun and frolics; instead an autumnal fog cloaks their debut album and its tales of nature, art and how the world will dick you over in the end. The hotly tipped Yorkshire foursome draw on Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and other grizzled men with a penchant for thorny blues and all-black clothing, but in spite of that it’s not all grim: the band imbue these transparent influences with chiming indie guitars and the hazy vibrato of a ‘60s-era organ.
Grass House sheathes the comfort of weathered Americana in glittery space-rock atmospherics. Modest, monochrome melodies weave through cavernous reverbed spaces, whiskery poetics are murmured as dual guitars vault up and away in rattling blurs. The four piece, native to Yorkshire but now living in London, has drawn comparisons to various baritone indie folk (Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Matt Berninger of the National), but to me, the singer, Liam Palmer, sounds like a younger, less damaged Shane McGowan, muttering bleak abstractions but softening the edges with a Northern burr.
Grass House make terribly convincing Americana for a handful of Londoners. Although, to be fair, geography and generational relativity differ very little when it comes to musical taste—just as a 12-year-old from Nebraska can download the entire Beatles catalogue, so can a couple of UK lads can grow up in a household teeming with the sonic legacies of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, and Johnny Cash. On their first full-length, A Sun Full and Drowning, Grass House take on the raw and rootsy musical content their name implies, digging up dirt and brightly-colored flowers.